Kazuto Ioka looks to make his first title defense against the undefeated Jeyvier Cintron!
WHEN: December 31, 2019
WHERE: Ota-City General Gymnasium, Tokyo, Japan
NETWORK: Japanese stream
TIME: 4:00 AM ET
It is customary that in Japan there is a world championship boxing card to close out the year. That tradition continues on December 31 as Kazuto Ioka (24-2, 14 KOs) makes the first defense of the WBO World Super Flyweight against mandatory challenger Jeyvier Cintron (11-0, 5 KOs) in Tokyo, Japan.
Ioka has big plans for 2020, but he first has to overcome an opponent who on paper looks to bring all kinds of difficulty. The adage in boxing is that styles make fights, and Cintron has the style to walk out of Japan a world champion. This is a very intriguing bout.
A four-time, four-division world champion (minimumweight, junior flyweight, flyweight and super flyweight), Ioka is highly accomplished and skilled; a man who knows all the tricks of the trade.
The 30-year-old from Tokyo can do a bit of everything in the ring; a fighter with no great weakness. It’s his versatility that is his greatest strength.
Because of his vast experience, he has the poise and confidence of a seasoned vet. He can box on the outside when needed or stand in the pocket and fight when it is necessary to great effect. The champ is equally adept at boxing at range or digging to the body.
In short, Ioka is a complete fighter.
Keys To Victory: Ioka
At 5’4”, the champion is facing an opponent who is three inches taller and has a five-inch advantage. As a result, he must find a way to get inside that length and dig the body. Make this a physical bout and rough the challenger up. It would not be a good look for the Japanese superstar to make this an outside fight.
The 24 year-old southpaw from Bayamon, Puerto Rico is a long, tall, and skilled stylist. A former 2012 and 2016 Olympian, Cintron likes to keep the fight on the outside and box. His greatest asset is his ability to use his length and movement to keep fighters a bay. Because of that strength, he’s a difficult opponent to hit.
While his knockout percentage is average, the fighter known as “Perrito” has the ability to hurt fighters to the head or body. His counter-punching ability is excellent and the jab is world-class.
Keys To Victory: Cintron
Make this an outside fight. At 5’7” with a 70” reach, use that wingspan to your advantage. Get the jab going early and often. Make it as difficult as possible for the champion to get inside. The more boring the bout is, the better it is for Cintron.
Cintron will use the early rounds to try to establish distance on the outside and box. Ioka will have to engage this fight at a high pace and get inside the condor-like arms of the Puerto Rican.
If there’s one weakness for the challenger, his punches tend to be wide from time to time while the champion’s punches are straighter, shorter and faster.
This fight will be close and competitive, but the experience of Ioka will be the difference. He will find a way to get inside, get off and work the body. In the end, Ioka does just enough to eke out a close decision win.
By: Michael Wilson Jr.